Chris Rock made a joke about the OJ Simpson murder trial as he told a comedy show audience that he had been asked to present the Oscars again next year, according to a local news report.
The comedian, who was famously slapped on stage by Will Smith after making a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, at the 2022 ceremony, is said to have made the comments during a stand-up show in Phoenix, Arizona, at the weekend.
Rock joked about the incident and told the crowd he has been asked to return as Oscars host for 2023, but turned the invitation down, Arizona Central reported.
The 57-year-old reportedly likened returning to the award ceremony to returning to the scene of a crime and made a joke about the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson.
He said hosting the ceremony again would be like asking Brown Simpson “to go back to the restaurant”, according to the outlet.
Former American football player OJ Simpson was acquitted of the murder of Brown Simpson, his ex-wife, and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995, after a televised trial that made headlines around the world.
On the night of their deaths, Brown Simpson had left a pair of glasses at a restaurant that Goldman worked at, and he had returned them to her home.
Two years after Simpson was cleared, he lost a wrongful death lawsuit and was ordered to pay $33.5m in damages to the victims’ families.
Rock was performing in Arizona as part of his Ego Death tour.
During his show, he also reportedly joked about Smith‘s slap, saying it hurt and referencing how the actor had played the boxer Muhammad Ali in a film.
“He’s bigger than me,” Rock said. “The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith.”
In July, Smith posted a video on Instagram apologising for losing his temper at the Academy Awards in March.
Rock’s joke on stage at the event had referenced the 1997 film GI Jane, in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head.
It is still unclear whether the comedian was aware that Pinkett Smith has alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss, when he made the remark.
Later in the event, Smith was announced the winner of the best actor award for his performance in King Richard.
The following month, the star was banned from attending the ceremony for 10 years.
Sky News has contacted the Academy and representatives for Rock for comment.